NCLEJ Statement on the Killing of Jordan Neely
Last week, Jordan Neely was choked to death on the New York City subway. To date, there has been no evidence that Mr. Neely harmed or threatened anyone. He was homeless, hungry, and thirsty. Like too many others, Mr. Neely was known to struggle with homelessness, mental health issues, addiction and poverty, but his struggles were ignored in a City where massive resource disparity abounds.
Mr. Neely died, desperate for water, in New York City, with its 1.2 billion gallon municipal water supply system. He died, desperate for food, in a country where 40% of food goes uneaten. Food, water, and housing are necessities of living, the most basic of human needs. Every person needs to eat and drink every single day. Yet, New York State continues to fail in its constitutional mandate to aid and care for our most vulnerable residents.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s involuntary commitment policy, issued last year, openly endorsed the policing of poor and often disabled New Yorkers who are unhoused, yet did nothing to ensure that people with mental illnesses receive appropriate care and services. Rather than invest in the services New York’s homeless population urgently needs, the Mayor chooses to sweep people out of sight to under-resourced facilities.
The attempts to erase and criminalize homeless and impoverished persons must end. In light of the Mayor’s tepid response to this horrific story, we once again condemn his policies on policing the homeless and the senseless, inhumane erasure of Mr. Neely as a disabled black New Yorker. We demand a complete investigation into the killing of Mr. Neely. And once again, we call on Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul to develop a comprehensive plan to provide homeless New Yorkers with disabilities the housing and voluntary services they want and need, and adequately fund the agencies that provide critical and lifesaving safety net benefits.